Evil Remains (2004) – Horror Movie Review – Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Watch

By Melissa Antoinette Garza

 

For those who don’t know, I live in Massachusetts.  The events that happened yesterday shocked me and shook me to my core.  My prayers go out to the families of those impacted.  The selfish part of me keeps thinking that on Saturday I was right in the area.  I had gone to see a concert with my husband.  My mind can’t help but come up with a bunch of “what if” scenarios.  When I heard an 8 year old had been a victim, I broke down and cried.  I question why and how, just as I assume most Americans are doing right now.  I just hope that those guilty of causing so much chaos and pain are brought to justice.

Generally, I’d be heading to bed now.  It’s 2:40 AM and though I’m a bit tired, I’m sitting up in bed next to my husband who has just fallen asleep. I know if I try to lie down and close my eyes, I will toss and turn and thoughts I don’t want in my head will enter.  If I do get to sleep, the dreams I have will be awful.  After 9/11 and more recently after the Newtown shooting, I had nightmares every night. 

Whereas most people would probably put on something light and fluffy, horror films always bring me comfort.  I decided that I’d stay up and watch a film I had seen quite a few years ago Evil Remains, also known as Trespassing is a low budget horror film which borrows from horror classics The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974),  Friday the 13th (1980) and it also has a touch of the lesser known slasher Killer Party (1986).

Mark (Daniel Gillies) is doing a college project on myths.  He interviews Dr. Rosen (Kurtwood Smith) who tells him about one of his patients.  Rosen had been treating a young kid named Carl Bryce (Jeff Galpin) who was a few cards short of a deck.  When he was merely a teen he butchered his parents, and then was never seen again.

A legend developed which states that anyone who travels in the area where the crime occurred will succumb to insanity or to death.  Expecting nothing to happen, Mark invites his friends to come help him in his research.

Eric (Jeff Bryan Davis), Tyler (Clayne Crawford), Kristy (Estella Warren) and Sharon (Ashley Scott) all accompany their friend.  Soon, a murderer emerges brutally killing the friends one after another.  The murderer is definitely dressed in an interesting and unique way as he wears a dog mask.

Of course, the conclusion has a twist.  I will say that though it has been done before, I did think it fit really well in this movie in particular.

SPOILERS:

At the end of the movie, Rosen is talking to another woman who is doing research on Kristy who is the only survivor.  Kristy is believed to have gone crazy murdered her friends.  This is an interesting enough conclusion though reminiscent of everything from Psycho (1960) to Kolobos (1999), and most recently Alexandre Aja’s High Tension (2003).  The film doesn’t simply offer that ending though.  Rosen doesn’t believe it.  He believes in the curse and thus the audience is left with an open ending of sorts.  Was Kristy just insane or was this dog faced creature the one killing everyone?   Of course, those aren’t the only options.  Perhaps, Rosen himself is the murderer.  I would love to know the answers but unfortunately, it’s up to speculation.

Much like the always asked but never really answered, ‘how many licks does it take to get to the tootsie roll center of a tootsie pop’ the world may never know.

I do recommend going back and re-watching the movie to see if any hints throughout the movie standout.  If you see any, email me at scaredstiffreviews@gmail.com as I’m always interested in fun movie facts like that.

END OF SPOILERS

I thought this was a really well done, above par horror movie.  It was clever, the characters were well-developed, the plot was interesting enough, the cast was well chosen, and in all honesty there were some really creepy moments within.

In one scene, the killer is stalking Kristy and running through the woods with her, which is very similar to Leatherface chasing Sally Hardesty in the original.  It was well-shot and definitely something that made me tense.  Another facet of the film which added tension was the way in which they utilized silence.  Rather than using “scary” music, the movie relied on silence quite a bit.  That in itself, when used properly, can be terrifying. 

It’s always great to see Kurtwood Smith on screen.  He always adds integrity and realism to every role he’s in.  I was never a fan of That 70s Show, but he would definitely make it watchable as he has a real gift for being comedic in absurdity without going so far over the top that the character loses credibility.  Here as Dr. Rosen, he was able to portray the character as an intellectual who believed in curses.  His belief system never came across in such a manner that it led the audience to question his intelligence.   Instead, casting Smith in the role gave the character the viewer support he needed to set the tone for the rest of the film.  Smith’s ability to deliver absurdity with such a rational tone made everything he stated believable.

Estella Warren also did a great job.  I recall seeing her in Law & Order SVU in an episode entitled Design.  She was fantastically vicious in the show.  I think she is a fine actress and I look forward to seeing her in more productions.

Scared Stiff Rating:  7.5/10